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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Fighting Polio in Pakistan and Afghanistan

Not reaching every child jeopardizes progress and risks reintroduction in other parts of the world
saw an overall decrease in wild poliovirus (WPV) cases from January – September 2013 compared with the same time period in 2012 according to data published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Since 2012, transmission of indigenous WPV has been limited to three countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria. Results for Nigeria will be released in December.
Both countries still face significant challenges in reaching unvaccinated children. Afghanistan is fighting a polio outbreak in the Eastern Region while Pakistan continues to see polio increases in the conflict-affected Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where there is a ban on polio vaccination, and in security-compromised Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. The potential risk of transmission to other countries highlights the need for strong ongoing global efforts to eradicate this disease.
“Although there have been setbacks, we are making progress towards global polio eradication,” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “There is encouraging progress in Afghanistan, but, as long as transmission is uninterrupted in Pakistan and Nigeria, the risk for spread to other countries continues because polio anywhere presents a threat of polio everywhere."

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